Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blog Action Day 08-Poverty

Yesterday was Blog Action Day 08, and, in characteristic fashion I'm a day late. That's probably because the theme of Blog Action Day is poverty and that is a subject currently on my 'too hard to think about' list.

Poverty is a strange creature. How do you define something so relative? In some parts of the world it means an inability to meet the most basic needs for life. In others parts something rather more complex.

Raising awareness is laudable, but I'm just not convinced it makes any difference.

I'm not convinced because I have experienced the kind of poverty that means going hungry and there's something no charitable campaign will ever tell you.

People already know what poverty is. It's instinctive. Part of what makes us human. Think about it. Really think.

Think of the look in the eyes of every starving child the media has ever shown you. Think what it would really be like to be sleeping on the streets tonight. Think about having enough money to feed your children but not yourself. Think about being so cold you spend all your time huddled in bed, not even able to get up to wash yourself.

Think about how it feels when hope is dead.

You see, if you've been able to imagine how those things feel, how they really feel that is, then you'll have felt that sense of panic rising up within you, bubbling into the back of your throat, threatening to take hold and choke you. It's terrifying, so quite understandably no-one wants to feel that way. Best just push it back where it came from and be sure not to think about such horrors again.

Maybe even donate a bit of money to make sure it stays away.

So that's why I'm never sure that raising awareness about poverty is the right thing to do.

We all already know what poverty means.

We're just too afraid of how it feels to really want to.


Trixie said...

So true.

Everybody wants donations for something, and if we keep giving out donations to everything, we will be in poverty ourselves.

I thought of you today. I had a friend around for dinner and we were chatting how another friend is getting £900 a month for her children who have a disability that means they go to the doctors once every 6 months for check ups, but otherwise okay (something to do with their bodies not producing enough salt). Her husband is working, she doesn't need to because she gets this money from the government.

Then there is you, struggling to find somewhere to live.

How the hell does this government work?

Rant over.

Dave said...

Hi Bendy,

I'm all too aware of pverty thank you. For the first time in years we have two or three genuinely homeless young people sitting outside Subway and KFC in our town. One is a young South African girl who came over here a few months ago. Whatever she planned to do didn't work out and she can't go anywhere, not London, not home to SA.
A close family friend is recovering from mental illness and will come to live with us next week becaus ehe can't afford his flat anymore and he's still not strong enough for the cold hard world of searching for work with all its a highs and mostly lows.
In the meantime we're all ahnging on to our jobs for grim death because the mortage payments are crippling and our list of dependents is ever growing. I should be paying off the mortage next year, but it's an endowment policy so there will be a shortfall. I'll be working til I die, assuming I can keep the job. Poverty? I'm two paypackets away.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Trixie: Thank you for thinking of me honey. I can't comment on your friend's friend except to say that people can get very unpleasant towards those who receive disability payments, often unfairly.
I don't think it's the fault of any particular govt, but in relation to benefits a real apathy from politicians who find it easier to lump all claimants in under the scum heading than to deal with the actual issues, the numbers of people who simply can't be arsed to work.
I think anyone who has the guts to address that will def find it a vote winner!

Dave: My point exactly, everyone is too aware of poverty, especially right now, so why are charities spending/wasting so much money on advertising campaigns to tell us all what we already know?!
It sounds like you are a pretty amazing friend to have, and sadly I think the kind of situation you describe is only going to become more common.
Mental health is not my area of expertise within the benefits system, but if there's anything I can do to help please email me, eg you might be entitled to reduction in your council tax if someone with a disability is living with you. BG x

cogidubnus said...

Bendy - that's a mighty perceptive post...suffice it to say if you were my daughter I'd be incredibly proud of you...

Fire Byrd said...

I think your right and this has given me goose bumps reading it.
I have never known financial poverty, Not that I've got loads, but I have almost always had enough to live on and a little more.
And it doesn't much how much I give the guilt of having doesn't go away.
Thank you for making me think, it's always important to stop and do that.

Rae!xx said...

what a thought provocking post and to think all I was worried about was whether I was going to get any housing benefit this month.

Well written as ever darl..xx

James Higham said...

There has to be a way to work oneself out of poverty. Unfortunately, in this country, the options are being closed down.

Anonymous said...

Hoping you are OK BG? You haven't posted in a while. Achelois.

To Trixie, there is a very unpleasant condition in its simplest form described as a low salt problem, which is life long and can affect the adrenal glands, its not pleasant. Nothing personal, just thought it worth a mention.

having my cake said...

Uncomfortable... but true. Good post x